Friday, May 27, 2011
I am pleased to report that the book signing at the BEA was a success. There was a long line of people waiting and the Orbit staff moved them through with the skill of veterans. They asked each person to write their names on a lime green sticky note so that I could personalize the signature with ease. I was scheduled to appear for an hour, but in forty-five minutes the entire stock of books were gone. It might have taken less time, but I enjoy talking to fans.
Only once before have I ever had a signing where I had a line. In the past, my signings were more like fishing trips, trying to catch and hook passersby. “Excuse me sir, but…Pardon me, but…”
These attempts to gain people’s attention on a few occasions led to: “Sure, why not, I’ll try it.” or “You poor man, is no one buying your books? Here, I’ll take one, you seem so nice.”
At the Orbit signing I heard a new phrase. It caught me totally off guard and blew me away as several people said it. “Thank you so much for coming.”
Upon hearing it I didn’t know what to reply. I was dumbfounded. In my head I was wondering if I had heard them right. Why would people be thanking me? I was overjoyed to see anyone actually showing up to get my books. I wanted to shake the hand of every person that passed by. I wanted to thank them for showing up, because I really did not think anyone would.
The night before I was speaking with members of Orbit and I sensed a level of expectation lowering being sent my way. My signing would be on the last day of the BEA, and it wasn’t even a full day. Most people were tired. Most people had already gone home. Most people had bags of stuff to carry and would not want another book, much less a thick, heavy one. And let’s face it, I’m not a name. I rank officially as a “kinda debut” author. I was being prepped for a weak showing. Even ten minutes before the event, I was reminded that traffic was way down that day.
I recalled one of my first signings at a Waldenbooks where I stood at the entrance struggling to gain anyone’s attention. I sold five books in four hours. I apologized to the manager, who in turn laughed and said that I had sold more than any author they ever had, and I was welcomed to come back. I expected much of the same at the BEA. I expected I would stand there smiling awkwardly as few people walked by, and fewer still returned my smile.
Instead a line formed. Books were stacked, and floodgates opened. Librarians, bloggers and booksellers stepped up to ask me for my signature and to thank me so much for coming. I still get a kick out of that. Some had read the books, but most were new folks about to meet Royce and Hadrian for the first time.
It was fun and I was treated like royalty. The Orbit team organized the line, refilled the stacks, held each new book open to the signing page, and neatly stole away leftover Post-Its. For a brief moment I was a rock star.
One of the highlights of the event was when a young woman stepped before me with a wide grin and told me that she read the books, and read both Robin’s and this blog. I was meeting a real fan, one of the many who made that day, and that line possible, but one of the few I had ever seen face to face. I checked her name tag. She had an unusual name, not one I would forget easily, and yet I have never seen a comment here, or her name in the Followers section. She explained that she had never posted and just liked to visit.
To her I would just like to say, thank you so much for coming, Anastasia, you made my day.